Follow the The Permanents production as well as the Old Wheeler Hotel via the links below
By Michael H. White, Paranormal Research and Investigations
The town of Wheeler, Oregon, originally started as a lumber town entirely under the vision of Coleman Hawley Wheeler, a Canadian who came to the states in the late 1800s. Having worked for a lumber mill in Minnesota, Coleman studied and learned the timber industry and eventually purchased the land that is now known as Wheeler.
And in the center of town, overlooking the picturesque Nehalem Bay, stands the Old Wheeler Hotel. A tranquil establishment decorated with antiques and old-style charm, the hotel has become a destination for people wanting to spend time away from the standard hotel chains yet still desiring modern conveniences. Along with its elegant character and excellent décor, the hotel has an added feature that it does not advertise: It is haunted. Unlike the haunted houses and hotels featured in Hollywood movies, the haunting in the Old Wheeler Hotel is quite different. This haunting is not scary; in fact, here the haunting seems perfectly natural. As guests of the hotel feel comfortable within the establishment, so do the unseen guests that reside there. A delightful coexistence between temporary guests and the permanent guests has been ongoing for years.
The Permanents: A Paranormal Case Study is a responsible attempt to tell that story without using the supernatural gimmicks that Hollywood relies on to portray paranormal activity. Every building has a story. Some just speak louder than others. The Permanents film, to be released in 2018, is currently in production. The owner of the Old Wheeler Hotel, Katie Brown, after years of turning away sensationalized “investigation” productions has embraced a few individuals who she has learned to trust for their sensible and respectful investigation practices. The production features Casey Goodwin and Jay Verburg of Oregon Paranormal, Neil McNeill of Paranormal Studies Institute, Ben Robison of Autonomous Studies of the Enigmatic & Paranormal, and Michael White of Paranormal Research and Investigations. Each researcher brings their own perspective and skill-set and also fulfills all the roles for the production, which removes the tendency for sensationalism.
The filmmakers were asked about what makes this film different than other paranormal films, and their answers were insightful and thought provoking. “I think what sets our film apart from what’s being done now is that The Permanents will harken back to shows like In Search Of and Unsolved Mysteries, a time when the focus was more on the investigational process and intricacies of an actual case study, no spooky setups, gimmicks, or jump scares,” said Casey.
Jay also explained, “Our goal is to show the truth in paranormal investigative research and experimentation. Fear doesn’t need to be introduced when we deal with the afterlife. Many cultures coexist and honor the dead. When it comes to the Old Wheeler Hotel, those who work and live there often embrace the ‘permanents’ as caretakers, or even family that look out for them. There is a relationship which I believe many individuals of ‘haunted’ locations often feel. We wanted to do this to show that it doesn’t have to be a demon, it doesn’t have to be scary, and one doesn’t always need to be afraid.”
Ben had this perspective: “We are not tackling this documentary from the normal paradigm viewers are used to coming out of Hollywood. Rather it is our intention to shed light on the fact that our research does not need to be scary. It is about critical thinking and showcasing a beautiful location steeped in history. Critical thinking, which seems to be lacking these days, will be the dynamic that I believe will shine through on this particular film.”
Neil, an authority in paranormal studies, stated, “This film does not represent the typical sensationalized ‘ghost hunt’ prevalent in the media, which are usually carried out in the dark for thrills, notoriety, or ratings. This is a methodical and experienced approach that gives a straightforward view of actual field research, one which requires careful study and critical thinking. Our audience can expect an honest and insightful portrayal of a case study in the making, as well as a thorough overview of the history, science, and theory of paranormal investigation that is based on over a century of scientific inquiry.” According to Katie, “It does not feel to me as if this is a piece about exploiting a property that is known to have activity. The film is being conscientiously constructed to build a story behind ‘why’ it may be possible that souls have chosen to remain here.”
When asked about her relationship to the establishment, Katie replied, “The Old Wheeler Hotel owns me.” One of the focal points in the film is the rich history of the town and the hotel. “The Old Wheeler Hotel started as the Rector Hotel on the adjacent lot, but it burned down in the early 1900s,” Jay said. “Around 1918, the building was reconstructed, but built out of lath and concrete — not plaster. Using concrete, the building would never burn down again. The bottom floors were various businesses, such as a coffee shop, barber shop, drug store, shoe shine, and even a dance hall on the street level. On the basement level, there have been rumors of a gambling hall, speak-easy, and, of course, a brothel. Back in the day, there were no laws against prostitution.” Neil revealed even more about the production. “Several of the Northwest’s most prominent investigators and researchers of paranormal phenomena recently combined their specific interests and expertise into a mutual association, affectionately dubbed ‘The League of Extrasensory Gentlemen.’ They are joined in this undertaking by other experts and individuals who are involved in the paranormal field. One key contributor to the documentary is Katie Brown, owner of the Old Wheeler Hotel, which serves as the backdrop and investigative focus of the film.”The film will also include guest interviews by Loyd Auerbach and others.
Production has been ongoing since 2016, and with a release date of sometime in 2019, the filmmakers are concentrating on telling a factual story more than adhering to a commercial deadline.